When you google the words subliminal, subconscious, and unconscious, you get the following definitions.
subliminal: (of a stimulus or mental process) below the threshold of sensation or consciousness; perceived by or affecting someone’s mind without their being aware of it.
subconscious: of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one’s actions and feelings.
(adjective) done or existing without one realizing.
(noun) the part of the mind which is inaccessible to the conscious mind but which affects behavior and emotions.
The Effects of the Unconscious on Our Results
These three words have a lot to do with our performance and success in all areas of our lives. Our unconscious contains countless programs that we aren’t aware of. Those programs affect how we perceive and interpret our reality and how we make choices, act, and behave.
Our unconscious is filled with biases and fallacies. These beliefs are irrational. Once you bring them to a conscious level, you realize that they are unreasonable. Yet, we go through our days, making choices, acting, and behaving based on these biases and fallacies.
We don’t question our beliefs. We aren’t even aware of most of them. Yet, they influence the results we produce in our lives. They are based on our experience and on the experience, our ancestors gathered in their 4.5 billion years of evolution.
Beliefs Based on a Limited Experience
Our experience is limited. We can perceive a very limited set of phenomena in the universe. We can perceive a limited range of sound frequencies and light spectrum. Our experience is limited to Newtonian physics, which is only valid for large objects that move slowly compared to the speed of light.
Some of our inaccurate beliefs in our unconscious mind are practical in our day-to-day life, but what about the rest? What if they keep us from performing at our best and reaching our true potential? What’s the best way of dealing with those beliefs?
Discovering Our Limiting Beliefs and Replacing Them with Empowering Ones
Shakti Gawain has an exercise to discover our limiting beliefs in her book Creative Visualization. You need a pen and two sheets of paper. On the first sheet, you write your goal repeatedly, in the present tense, as if you have already reached it, using your name and in three different persons.
- I, Burak, weigh 165 pounds.
- Burak, you weigh 165 pounds.
- Burak weighs 165 pounds.
As you keep writing your goal over and over, be mindful of what comes up from your unconscious mind. If you pay attention, you’ll realize all kinds of limiting beliefs coming up. Write those limiting beliefs on the second sheet.
- I never weighed 165 pounds in my adult life.
- I’m too busy to work out.
- I’m too stressed to stick to a diet.
Keep doing the exercise on both sheets until no more limiting beliefs come up. The knowledge in the second sheet is precious. All of those beliefs stayed in your unconscious and influenced your choices and behavior so far. They kept you from reaching your goal.
Now, it’s time to reverse your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs. Write down your empowering beliefs, post them somewhere you can read every day, and read them every day.
- I can burn 25 pounds of fat.
- I have time to work out.
- A healthy diet lowers my stress.
Most of our beliefs are unconscious. They are a product of the limited experience of ourselves and our ancestors. Even though some of our beliefs are practical for our day-to-day life, a good deal of them keep us from performing at our best and realizing our goals.
You can discover your unconscious limiting beliefs by writing down a goal repeatedly on a piece of paper. As your limiting beliefs come up, write them down on a separate sheet of paper.
Once you’re done writing your limiting beliefs, come up with the empowering opposites of those beliefs. Read your new empowering beliefs every day and see how they affect your performance and success.
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly roundup of my latest posts.